Belgrave, Leicester

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Leicester’s Historic Villages, Belgrave, A Suburb For The Wealthy.jpg
Belgrave is located in Leicestershire
Location within Leicestershire
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtLE4
Dialling code0116
AmbulanceEast Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
52°39′24″N 1°07′35″W / 52.65660°N 1.12625°W / 52.65660; -1.12625Coordinates: 52°39′24″N 1°07′35″W / 52.65660°N 1.12625°W / 52.65660; -1.12625

Belgrave is an area, suburb, electoral ward and administrative division of the city of Leicester, England. Belgrave is the location of and known for the National Space Centre, Space Park Leicester, the Golden Mile and Belgrave Hall.

Belgrave House

The old Belgrave Village, containing the Belgrave Conservation Area, including Belgrave Hall, St Peter's Church and The Talbot Inn is to the west of Loughborough Road and to the east of the River Soar.


The Belgrave Ward within Leicester

Belgrave is bounded by the wards and areas of the suburb of Rushey Mead and the village of Birstall to the north, Spinney Hills, North Evington and Northfields to the east on the other side of the Midland Main Line, St Matthew's and Leicester City Centre to the south and Beaumont Leys and Stocking Farm to the west.[1] It is located just north of the centre of Leicester, in the eastern part of the city. The old village part of Belgrave is close to the Leicestershire county border and the Borough of Charnwood at the beginning of the Leicester Urban Area in that direction which is located on the other side of Red Hill Circle. Belgrave therefore stretches from and adjoins the city centre and the county.


The settlement was named in the Domesday Book as Merdegrave (from Old English mearð 'marten' + grāf 'grove'). However, after the Norman Conquest the merde, which means excrement in French, was changed to bel.[2][3]


Belgrave was originally one of Leicestershire’s ancient villages, the first mention of which, under its original Saxon name of Merdegrave (which in old English means Martins grove) appears in Domesday Book of 1086 where it is listed amongst the lands given to Hugh de Grandmesnil. Grandmesnil had fought at the side of William the Conqueror at Hastings and was his chief cavalry commander. As a reward for his services he was granted several Manors / Lands of which this was one.[4] by the King. The land consisted of a mill, 24 acres (97,000 m2) of meadow and land for six ploughs. For centuries afterwards Belgrave continued as a small agricultural village.

During the Middle Ages Belgrave became one of Leicestershire’s wealthier livings. In the thirteenth century its value rocketed. In 1217 it was valued at 16 marks, at 30 in 1254 and at 60 in 1291.

Belgrave was one of the communities in Leicestershire that experienced the shock of military confrontation because of its situation on the busy London to Derby road which cut right through the heart of the village unlike neighbouring Birstall and Wanlip which it bypassed by some hundreds of yards.

When the English Civil War burst violently into Belgrave, records indicate that there were a number of skirmishes between the opposing forces around the Thurcaston Road bridge and inside St Peter's Church. There is damage to the Tudor Memorial to Ambrose de Belgrave which suggests that it may have been used for target practice.

With large 19th Century terraced developments along the A607 (Belgrave Road and Melton Road), this area now has a large, vibrant Asian community featuring the "Golden Mile".[5] The Asian community based in and around Belgrave and Melton Road have been residents since the early 1970s.

The Belgrave Hall area is a conservation area.[6]

Belgrave is home to Belgrave Hall & Gardens. Belgrave Hall, built between 1709 and 1713 is a Grade II* listed building in a plain classical style. The Hall is in the midst of two acres of serene walled gardens that are open to the public during special events. It has changed hands many times but the owners have always played a major role in the economic, social and charitable life of the community.

St Peter's Church is the oldest building in the local conservation area, parts of which date from the twelfth century. Archaeologists believe there may be an earlier Saxon church beneath the present structure.[7]

The Talbot Inn has origins in the 14th Century, when it was a popular stop providing bed and board to those who travelled through Leicester along Loughborough Road.

As can be seen by some of the houses along Loughborough Road there were some very wealthy residents, including the Chief constable of Leicester at one point.

As the wealth of the area grew so did the population and by the late 19th Century many more houses were being built.

As Belgrave grew so did the town of Leicester and at such a rate that by 1891 Belgrave was subsumed into the Corporation of Leicester.

The area continued to expand with some of the earlier 19th century houses being replaced by 1930s semis. By the 1960s and 1970s large parts of Belgrave were cleared of the old Victorian terraced houses including Mellor School, the Baptist Church on Loughborough Road and Claremont Street Methodist Church, and were replaced with more modern structures.

In 1975 the old area of the village was declared a Conservation area and it is this area that represents the nucleus of the ancient village.

Mountsorrel he mounted at,

Rodely he rode by,
Onelep he leaped o'er,
At Birstall he burst his gall,

At Belgrave he was buried at.

Folk rhyme about a giant called Bell who boasted that he could reach Leicester in three leaps,
mentioning Belgrave, the city suburb in this direction and mentioning Wanlip, a nearby village as Onelep, a pun on "One Leap".[8]

Business and commerce[edit]

Belgrave based British United Shoe Machinery, formed around the turn of the 20th century as a subsidiary of United Shoe Machinery Company of the United States, became part of a group which for most of the 20th century was the world's largest manufacturer of footwear machinery and materials, exporting shoe machinery to more than 50 countries. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was Leicester's biggest employer employing more than 4,500 locally and 9,500 worldwide. Most of the workforce was recruited via an apprentice scheme which trained a large proportion of Leicester's engineers.[9][10] The company had "a respected reputation for technical innovation and excellence",[9] between 1898 and 1960, it developed and marketed nearly 800 new and improved shoe machines and patented more than 9,000 inventions, at one time employing 5% of the UK's patent agents.[11]

Parker Plant in Belgrave opened in 1911 inside a single railway arch. The business relocated to an 18-acre site in 1926. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s they were employing over 1,400 people to meet demand. In 1969, 1978 and in 1994 the business won the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise. In 2006 Universal Conveyors was acquired and in 2007 Phoenix Parker Holdings Ltd was formed. In 2014 Phoenix Transworld, Cartem & Universal Conveyors marketed under the Parker brand.

Bostik is in Belgrave as well as the Fred Perry clothing label having been in Belgrave.


The area, since the 1970s, has had a large Asian population and is now predominately Asian.

According to the 2001 UK Census, 104 Pacific Island born people were residing in Belgrave, with many more being of Pacific Islander descent. This is the largest number for any location in the UK.[12]

As of the 2011 census[edit]

The population of Belgrave was 11,558 and is made up of approximately 51% females and 49% males.

The average age of people in Belgrave is 36, while the median age is lower at 34.

43.0% of people living in Belgrave were born in England. Other top answers for country of birth were 28.4% India, 5.6% Kenya, 3.2% Sri Lanka, 1.6% Africa not otherwise specified, 0.8% Pakistan, 0.6% Zimbabwe, 0.4% Somalia, 0.3% Bangladesh, 0.2% Scotland.

46.7% of people living in Belgrave speak English as their main language. The other top languages spoken are 35.8% Gujarati, 4.3% Punjabi, 3.3% Tamil, 1.3% Portuguese, 0.9% South Asian Language, 0.9% Polish, 0.9% Hindi, 0.9% Urdu, 0.6% Somali.

The religious make up of Belgrave is 54.6% Hindu, 14.3% Christian, 14.1% Muslim, 6.4% No religion, 5.5% Sikh, 0.3% Buddhist. 443 people did not state a religion. Four people identified as Jedi knights.

48.1% of people are married, 4.0% cohabit with a member of the opposite sex, 0.5% live with a partner of the same sex, 28.9% are single and have never married or been in a registered same sex partnership, 7.5% are separated or divorced. There are 487 widowed people living in Belgrave.

The top occupations listed by people in Belgrave are Elementary at 20.6%, Process, plant and machine operatives at 18.7%, Elementary administration and service at 14.3%, Sales and customer service at 13.1%, Sales at 10.7%, Sales Assistants and Retail Cashiers at 9.8%, Administrative and secretarial at 9.6%, Caring, leisure and other service at 9.2% and Process Operatives at 8.5%.


Schools in the area[edit]

Primary schools: Belgrave St Peter's Church of England Primary, Mellor Community Primary, Catherine Infants and Catherine Juniors, St Patrick's Catholic Primary, Abbey Primary and Rushey Mead Primary.

Secondary schools:

Rushey Mead Academy, which is the best state-funded secondary school in Leicester and Leicestershire[13] and Soar Valley College.


Leicester College - Abbey Park Campus.

Places of interest[edit]

  • Belgrave Hall - An 18th Century Hall owned at one point by the MP and Businessman John Ellis. It is known for its paranormal happenings and has been subject to world media attention. It was a museum but is now an events venue and is occasionally used for public events with the gardens opening periodically throughout the year.[14]
  • The Belgrave Conservation Area - Includes Belgrave Hall, St Peter's Church and The Talbot Inn.
  • The Golden Mile - Known for the many Indian shops along it, including gold jewellery, food and saree shops. This road is at the centre of annual Diwali celebrations in the city, having rows of lights that are switched on in front of tens of thousands of visitors each year.[15]
  • The National Space Centre - museum and educational resource covering the fields of space science and astronomy, containing the United Kingdom's largest planetarium.
  • Space Park Leicester - a pioneering £100 million research, innovation and teaching hub for space-related high-tech companies and researchers focussing primarily on research, development and applications of space.
  • Abbey Pumping Station - a science and technology museum.
  • Abbey Park - Leicester’s premier park in which the River Soar runs through.
  • The Peepul Centre - a multi-use facility.
  • Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre - a sports facility aside the River Soar.


The River Soar runs along the west of Belgrave.



The electoral ward of Rushey Mead contains a part of Belgrave meaning that despite the actual geographical location that specific area may also be classed as being in Rushey Mead by virtue of the electoral ward mapping.

The Cobbled Agar Street in Belgrave is within the Rushey Mead electoral ward


Major roads[edit]

Belgrave is located on, at the start of and at the south end of the A607 and is also on the A6 and the A563.


First Leicester service 4 and 21 serve Belgrave on the A607 and Catherine Street respectively.

First Leicester services 25 and 26 travel along Belgrave Gate with service 25 going through the Old Village and service 26 going by Abbey Park and by the Old Village.

Arriva Midlands services 5, 5A and 6 all serve the A607 whilst Arriva Midlands service 127 serves Loughborough Road, travelling by the Old Village.

All bus services operate along or by the Golden Mile from and into Leicester City Centre.

The nearest bus stations, both in Leicester City Centre are the Haymarket and St Margaret's.


The nearest train station is Leicester railway station.

The Midland Main Line runs along at the east of Belgrave.

Leicester Belgrave Road railway station and Belgrave and Birstall railway station are both now closed.


The nearest airport is East Midlands Airport, in Leicestershire and 19.2 miles away from Belgrave.


Belgrave is located within the Leicester East parliament constituency, a seat held by the Labour Party consistently since 1987 albeit with a significantly reduced majority in the 2019 United Kingdom general election, though reflecting a widespread national trend for the Labour Party in that particular election.

The Belgrave electoral ward is currently represented on Leicester City Council by Labour Councillors Padmini Chamund, Nita Solanki and Mahendra Mohanbhai Valand.

The electoral ward of Rushey Mead includes parts of Belgrave.

Former Councillors for Belgrave include Archibald Berridge and Ramnik Kavia, both of whom served as Lord Mayors of Leicester, Colin Hall, the city's Lord Mayor from 2010 to 2011 and a resident of the area since 1968 and Manjula Sood, Britain's first Asian woman Lord Mayor.

Belgrave was represented within the East Midlands parliamentary constituency in the European Parliament.

Council election results[edit]

Belgrave 2019[edit]

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Padmini Chamund 5872
Labour Nita Solanki 5383
Labour Mahendra Mohanbhai Valand 4707
Conservative Ramesh Pamsi Bhulabhai 1205
Conservative Devi Prakashveer Singh 951
Conservative Jagtar Singh 842
Green Mags Lewis 497
Independent Sanjay Prem Gogia 324
Liberal Democrats Asit Sodha 293
Independent Khandubhai Vanmalibhai Patel 211

Belgrave 2015[edit]

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Mansukhlal Dharamshi Chohan 5,705
Labour Manjula Sood 5,593
Labour John William Thomas 4,653
Conservative Assoc Faquir 1509
Conservative Sathish Maroju 1485
Conservative Manish Naresh Teli 1273
Green Dinah Gilian Freer 466
UKIP Darren Millward 318
UKIP Donna Millward 270
UKIP Scott Prendergast 263
LICC Alexander Morgan 199
Turnout 21734 67.7
Labour hold Swing


Belgrave Road Cycle and Cricket Ground in Belgrave was a sports ground which hosted early matches of Leicester Fosse, who re-formed as Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. The ground was opened on 5 May 1880 by Edwyn Sherard Burnaby, the MP for Leicestershire North[17] as a 10-acre site with mile long running and cycling tracks, cricket and football pitches[18] and hosted Leicester Tigers first official game against Moseley on 23 October of that year.[19] The Tigers moved from Belgrave in January 1881 before moving back for the 1882/83 season. Leicester Fosse, a forerunner of Leicester City played soccer at the ground for the 1887/88 season, their fourth, however only lasted one season before their outbidding for use of the ground by Leicester Tigers.[20] In June 1881 it also hosted Leicestershire County Cricket Club against an All England XI. It opened in 1880 and closed in 1901 when houses, shops and part of the British United Shoe Machinery were built on the site.[17]

Notable people[edit]

  • John Ellis - MP for Leicester, businessman, Chairman of Midland Railway, noted liberal reformer and Quaker and a former owner and resident, along with his family of Belgrave Hall.
  • Jennie Fletcher - British competitive swimmer, Olympic gold medallist and former world record holder - born in Belgrave.
  • Tony Sibson - Professional boxer and former European and Commonwealth middleweight champion - lived in and went to school in Belgrave.
  • David Weston - artist and author - born in Belgrave.
  • Tom Sidwell - cricketer - born in Belgrave.
  • George Walton - cricketer - born and died in Belgrave.


  • THE STORY OF BELGRAVE The life and death of a Leicestershire village & BYGONE BELGRAVE IN 120 PHOTOGRAPHS. 2012. ISBN 978-0-9571915-1-8.


  1. ^ Leicester City Council. "Ward Maps". Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  2. ^ Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press. 2003. p. 130. ISBN 9780199771691. Archived from the original on 14 August 2021. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Key to English Place-names". Archived from the original on 1 July 2021. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  4. ^ Domesday Book: A Complete Transliteration. London: Penguin, 2003. p. 653 ISBN 0-14-143994-7
  5. ^ "Leicester Belgrave regeneration". BBC News. 9 August 2014. Archived from the original on 7 November 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  6. ^ "The Belgrave Hall Conservation Area". Leicester City Council. Archived from the original on 6 March 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Belgrave Hall Statement of Character" (PDF). Leicester City Council. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  8. ^ Northall, G.F. (2004). English Folk Rhymes 1892. Kessinger Publishing. p. 576. ISBN 9781417978045. Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  9. ^ a b Howie, Iain (1999). USM Serving the Shoemaker for 100 years. Shoe Trades Publishing. p. 7. ISBN 0-9536531-0-2.
  10. ^ Howie 1999, p. 90.
  11. ^ Howie 1999, p. 23
  12. ^ "Pacific Islanders in Belgrave". BBC News. Archived from the original on 29 January 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Best Schools in Leicestershire". Leicestershire Live. 25 June 2018. Archived from the original on 19 April 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Belgrave Hall". Archived from the original on 9 December 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  15. ^ "Flyover regeneration work begins". BBC News. 9 August 2014. Archived from the original on 21 July 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Belgrave statement of persons nominated" (PDF). Leicester City Council. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 May 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  17. ^ a b Farmer, Stuart; Hands, David. Tigers - Official history of Leicester Football Club. The Rugby DevelopmentFoundation. p. 481. ISBN 978-0-9930213-0-5.
  18. ^ "Leicester City's official historian John Hutchinson takes another stroll down memory lane". Leicester Mercury. 26 May 2014. Archived from the original on 29 May 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  19. ^ Farmer, Stuart; Hands, David. Tigers - Official history of Leicester Football Club. The Rugby DevelopmentFoundation. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-9930213-0-5.
  20. ^ "Leicester Fosse 1884-1919". Leicester City. Archived from the original on 2 May 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2016.

External links[edit]